Dental patient retention is a hundred times easier and cheaper than constantly trying to attract new patients.

What every practice owner should be striving for, is to build a community of loyal patients who pay, stay, and refer.

So once you’ve got patients you love working with – how do you keep them coming back? The following dental patient retention strategies can help you make big changes in your practice:


Relationships Equal Dental Patient Retention

This sounds obvious, but relationships are the glue that holds the practice together. We need to think about moving from a transactional model to a relationship model.

Relationships are ultimately what give meaning and purpose to human interaction, and there’s a lot of research around psychology that shows people will stick to a business where they feel a connection.

One of the most effective ways to build that connection is to ask genuine questions and listen intently.

Great dental care and positive patient experience are two key components of dental patient retention. If your team treats your patients genuinely with kindness and compassion, they will undoubtedly have a positive experience with your care.

Hear every word they say, hear what’s not said, and show them that what they say is important to you.

The people that you’re listening to will come to realise that you’re engaged, and interested, and a relationship follows.


Dentist talking to her patient.


Stop Cancellations

Cancellations are frustrating and costly, but the good news is that they’re also avoidable. Cancellations are usually the responsibility of the practice, not the patient.

There are two main ways to prevent cancellations:

  1. You need to build value, so your patients prioritise your services
  2. And you need to gain appointment commitment.


When your patients value and prioritise your services, they’re more likely to keep their appointments. And when your patient commits to attending their next appointment, they’re likely to keep that promise.


Get More Favourites

Go on, admit it. You have your favourite patients.

Ones that arrive on time accept treatment and pay their bills. On top of that, you probably like them as a person, and they’re likely to share similar values to you.

And the great thing is that you can get more of those sorts of patients quickly and easily. All you have to do is ask.

A lot of people feel hesitant about asking for referrals because they don’t want to be presumptuous or they feel awkward.

You’ll be pleased to know it’s quite a seamless process and is much easier than you think!

Once you can convert these referrals to regular dental patients this will positively contribute not only to your retention numbers but also to your practice growth.


Consistency Is Key to Dental Patient Retention

One of the best ways to improve your dental patient retention rate is through consistency.

Consistency is key to creating a great patient experience.

We know how annoying it is when we go to our favourite coffee shop and they normally make our coffee just so, but one day there’s some new brand of milk or machine and it’s all burnt when we just wanted our old reliable.

Or how disappointing it is to go to a hairdresser who gives you a lovely scalp massage with luxurious shampoo – and the next time they don’t.

Humans are creatures of habit, and we like knowing what we’re going to receive and experience. If you can create that expectation and live up to it time and time again, you’re winning.


Dental patient retention by appointments.


Book the Next Appointment

A maxim I swear by, is “the purpose of an appointment is to book another appointment.”

Every person should leave your practice with their next appointment booked.

A key part of being able to do this is to build value and communicate a compelling reason for them to come back. People won’t place any more value or significance on their appointments than we do.

We can’t exactly act like “Yeah, come in again if you want” and then expect them not to cancel or arrive late or not book appointments at all.

When dental patient retention happens by accident or without your intention and action, patients are easier to slip through and find dental care elsewhere. So, you need to establish, communicate, and demonstrate the value in them coming back.

These sound like such simple and basic steps – and they are! But executing them consistently and effectively is going to put you miles ahead of the competition.

To learn more about dental patient retention, read our #1 bestselling book Retention! by Dr Jesse Green and join Practice Max today!